"This victory means that there is always a place where you belong and where people are open to helping you succeed."
April 16, 2024

Maria Posada Elected Regional President of Phi Theta Kappa

Congratulations to Maria Alejandra Posada, recently elected 2024-2025 president of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society’s Middle States Region. Elections were held last month at PTK’s 37 th Regional Convention in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Maria becomes the sixth student from Alpha Eta Chi (AEC) – PCCC’s chapter of PTK – to be elected regional president and the eighth to hold a regional office. As Middle States regional president, she will oversee 80 PTK chapters across five states: New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

A teacher education major, Maria is a first-generation college student who immigrated from Colombia more than a decade ago, speaking little English when she arrived in the US.

“This victory means success for all the students who today feel that they do not belong,” said Maria. This victory means that there is always a place where you belong and where people are open to helping you succeed.

“I am where I am today because of the PCCC administrators and advisors who
supported me unconditionally and because of the hard work of my campaign team who
gave their best effort during the campaign,” said Maria. She singled out campaign
manager Cristy Sarmiento. “ Her incomparable dedication was the foundation of the
successful campaign we had.”

The future teacher began her PCCC education as an ESL student and now plans to
teach ESL at the middle or high school level “I want to provide immigrant students with
the assistance and support they need, as my ESL teachers did for me,” she explained.

It was through the SSS (Student Support Services) – ESL program at PCCC that Maria
learned about PTK. From the moment she connected with the organization, Maria felt at
home and accepted. “PTK helped me to grow academically and develop my leadership
skills, but it also became my community and my family, offering a sense of belonging
that is important for every student.”

Taking on the role of service coordinator Maria was able to plan projects and events in
collaboration with the other members and work on service projects, fundraisers, and
fellowship activities.

She recalls the first PTK Awareness event held at PCCC in Fall 2023. “We brought
information about the great benefits joining PTK to students who did know about the
organization,” she said, noting that several current active members were recruited
though that event. “That was one of our most meaningful events because we brought
the message of this amazing opportunity to all PCCC students.”

On campus, Maria also participates in the Educational Opportunity Fund program and
the Peer Mentoring program with the Pathways to Teaching Education initiative, where
she provides tutoring and support to other students. In the wider community, Maria
volunteers with a non-profit organization, MIRA USA that helps immigrants adjust to life
in their new country.

However it was the decision to run for regional president that Maria considers “the
biggest thing I have ever done”. Her campaign theme, “Rising as One, Building as a
Whole,” expresses the philosophy of collaborative leadership that Maria developed in
PTK, illustrated in her campaign posters by Lego-like designs. “The legos are about
connection, and that’s what we need to do to accomplish our goals,” Maria explained.
“We create connections with others that enable us to build what we envision.”

Maria’s general goals for the region involve engagement and community. “Once we get
started, it will take teamwork with the other regional chapters to set specific goals, and
decide what kind of engagement activities we want to do.” she said, “but we will
definitely create a culture of inclusivity to show that all can take advantage of the
opportunities at PTK.”

For Maria, PTK has been a passion. “It has given me so much. I never expected to have
an experience like this. PTK has changed me and changed my life, and I am truly
grateful. “